A 10-lawyer firm specializing in insurance coverage and founded by Los Angeles rainmaker Kirk Pasich is joining Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky LLP in opening its first California office.


Effective later this month, Pasich & Kornfeld will be part of the larger firm's 60-lawyer insurance coverage practice, said Pasich, whose book of business is between $5 million and $10 million.


"This year, we had to make a decision," said Pasich, who co-founded the firm 20 months ago after leaving Howrey Simon Arnold & White LLP. "We'd elected to expand our lease and hire more lawyers because we needed to expand. This gives us 60 more lawyers who do what we do."


Pasich & Kornfeld's clients include Fox Entertainment Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Music Group and the Roman Catholic Archidiocese of Los Angeles, which is seeking $1 billion in coverage for settlement and defense costs associated with suits filed by sexual abuse victims.


With the deal, four of the firm's six partners, including Pasich, will be partners at Dickstein Shapiro and two will be of counsel.


Both firms generated about $800,000 in profits per partner last year. Dickstein Shapiro, with 350 attorneys, currently has offices in New York and Washington D.C., where it is based.


Michael Nannes, the firm's managing partner, said he expects to grow the Pasich group in the next three years to about 35 lawyers, particularly in the insurance coverage and intellectual property practice areas.


Cochran Case
The death of Johnnie Cochran Jr. has not derailed a defamation case he filed against a former client.


The U.S. Supreme Court heard initial arguments last month between Cochran and Ulysses Tory, who is seeking to lift an injunction that bars him from speaking about the attorney in public or picketing outside his offices.


Tory, now retired, retained Cochran's legal services in 1983 in a personal injury suit but was dropped as a client two years later. He began picketing outside Cochran's Los Angeles office with placards that said, "Johnnie is a crook, a liar and a thief," among other things.


Cochran said Tory's actions were defamatory, and a lower court judge granted the injunction. Last year, the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case after a state appellate court affirmed the injunction.


Erwin Chemerinsky, a professor at Duke University's Law School who filed a brief on behalf of Tory last year, called the injunction against Tory "an enormous restriction on speech."


Attorneys on both sides said the injunction applies to Cochran's law offices, not just Cochran.


"The injunction continues forever, even if Johnnie Cochran dies or his law firm dissolves," wrote Jean-Paul Jassy, a lawyer at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP representing Tory, in his initial brief to the Supreme Court.


Men's Rights
The local leader of a men's rights group lost a critical court ruling in a lawsuit alleging 81 statutes and four regulations in California violate the legal rights of men.


Marc Angelucci, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Coalition of Free Men, a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization, alleged the laws unfairly favor women in domestic violence protection, visitation rights for the incarcerated, job training, veterans' services and affirmative action. He brought the suit as a taxpayer, alleging "illegal expenditure of public money."


A lower court judge threw out the suit. Last month, a 2nd Appellate District panel of judges affirmed the order, claiming he did not have standing to bring the suit because he was not personally affected by specific public expenditures.


*Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com .

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